Wednesday, February 4, 2009

The Diet of NY Times Bestsellers. And Other Secrets of Mediocre Fiction


I once harbored illusions of a sophisticated life full of glamor, high culture, trips to fabulous places where I would win the hearts of amazing people with my wit and charm. Or charm and wit. My delusions were non-specific. Actually, I take that back. They were specific enough to provide a clear picture of how I would look (thin, forever young, beautiful), how I would travel (first class), the kind of staff who would serve me (devoted, highly competent, without peer) and just about every other detail of my life (perfect).

Occasionally, it's necessary to take stock and see how my real life is measuring up to the fantasy. It's pretty safe to say that I still have a long way to go toward living that fabulous life. Oh, I'm working on it. The botox, devoted staff, travel, cultural activities and most everything else are still pretty dependent on another delusion - the one where I become a wealthy and famous author of best-selling fiction. (I'll pause here so you can finish laughing. You know that snorting is rather unbecoming, don't you?)

I have, though, taken one aspect of the fantasy by the reins and I'm steering that part of my life in the right direction.

I am losing weight. It is not a pretty process. It is not a perfect process. It is, however, working. I am motivated by a desire to live a long, healthy life, of course. I'm not entirely stupid. But I will be honest with you - I am also driven by the desire to look sleek and gorgeous (and airbrushed) in the dustjacket photo of my first novel that will rocket to Number 1 on the New York Times Bestseller List. (I never said I was attempting to write literature.)

If all goes well, that dustjacket cover photo and the obscene amounts of money I make from that first book and the rights to the movie will carry me through so that I can pound out more fiction while shoveling M&Ms into my mouth and sending nagging texts to The Spawn at their posh boarding schools. In between book tours and the necessary personal trainer appointments to get me back into shape for said tours, that is.

So how am I achieving this miraculous weight loss? Well, of course there is Mr. Phentermine and the good quack doctor who prescribes him, but let's just gloss on over that. The real strategy is a healthy diet and exercise. I'm reminded here of an old Lockhorns joke. There are some days when jumping to conclusions, stretching the truth and running my mouth are the only exercise I get, but still. I'm trying.

And that eating healthy thing? Well, it's, um, a good intention. I guess the truth is I've really cut back my calories. A lot. Like eliminating a big bowl of ice cream, a cheeseburger, fries and a generous slice of pie cutting back. I haven't calculated the calories I'm consuming, but I think it' somewhere between 1,200 and near starvation.

Let me show you a typical lunch.






But it's not all petulant dry salad green munching and string cheese mutilation. No, there is an occasional treat. Something sweet, creamy, chocolaty. Look - fruit is fruit. It is not a dessert. When I want sweet - bring me chocolate or tempt the wrath of.....wait. I think that might be the PMS talking. Sorry about that. Where was I? Oh, yes. A treat.

Cheap ass chocolate.

There will be plenty of time for $10,000 per ounce ultra-dark chocolate made from cocoa beans grown on sacred mountain tops by one-eyed harmonica players in Uruguay after the book sells, but for now, I'll take this "truffle." The package says it comes from Italy. It looks like something that came out of an animal's behind. Whatever. It's gone in one bite anyway......


Nifty, huh? I know it looks like a dollop of fresh muck, but it doesn't taste half bad.
Would I lie to you? Look at that face.
It's the face of a connoisseur of cheap ass chocolate, Hostess Ho Hos and Mountain Dew.



All photos are Lisa Golden originals.
Who else would indulge in this sort of jackassery on a weekday?

37 comments:

  1. The good news is that dark chocolate is actually good for you... just let a little tablet of the good stuff melt on your tongue.

    The rest of the series looks like what my lunch should be.

    Not today, though.

    My mom used to say, I start my diet Monday. She never said which one.

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  2. I truly admire you for this. I am really stuck on the weight loss.

    Who am I kidding? I am moving on the weight gain. Ack.

    Dry greens.
    String cheese.

    I have no will!

    You look more gorgeous than ever, BTW!

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  3. Good luck... I hope you make it.. lots of will power needed and a treat now and then..

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  4. There was a time, a long time ago, when I was trying to lose a couple of pounds. With that green leafty stuff, try putting some lemon juice on it. It's not the best dressing in the world, but it beats just dry stuff.

    The best of luck to you on your new project. I have some M&Ms that I'll eat for you. See what friends will do for other friends? ;)

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  5. Dieting doesn't make you live longer, it just seems like it.
    Whatever, good luck with that.

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  6. As an HAES advocate, I have to confess I find your diet adventures a tad disturbing. You do know there's a reason Sally Field wound up pushing Boniva, don't you? She may still look cute and perky, but staying that way has given her bones with about the same density and strength as bubble wrap.

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  7. I like a good salad, but usually with a healthy dose of cheese and dressing. Next to a hunk of charred animal flesh.

    Plus that whole exercise thing? You really have to stop setting a good example for the rest of us.

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  8. Who else would indulge in this sort of jackassery on a weekday?

    Certainly not you! Weight loss and novel writing is serious business... even if you're doing it on company time.

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  9. I just know that book will hit the top spot, and diets I am constrained to believe are very individual. Best of luck! Thanks for the lighthearted laughter that your post brought!

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  10. Good for you to eat healthily and lose weight. I wish you continued success.

    I myself, since I've been here, have begun doing 40 minutes of cardio on an elliptical machine, then around twenty minutes of free weights. It was horrendous getting started, but now if I don't do it daily then I feel like I'm missing something.

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  11. That dark chocolate is good. You have to have some pleasure when you're trying to lose weight, and a little dark chocolate is wonderful for that.

    Good job on the weight loss!

    I know what you mean about wanting that sleeker, more fabulous life. I am at the stage in my life where I'm willing to settle for being an entertaining whiskey-soaked relic in a rumpled seersucker suit. I think I can still attain that.

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  12. Omg... sometimes it is like you have the ability to climb into my brain.

    I am trying to maintain my weight for the very same reasons!

    And I am too sheepish to show you my lunches,

    (she types while looking with disdain at the package of -gag- on her desk....)

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  13. Omg... sometimes it is like you have the ability to climb into my brain.

    I am trying to maintain my weight for the very same reasons!

    And I am too sheepish to show you my lunches,

    (she types while looking with disdain at the package of -gag- on her desk....)

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  14. Congrats to you for sticking with it. It ain't easy. And, I feel sure that your book will be a huge hit. :-)

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  15. I will only buy your novel if the string-cheese-eating photo is on the dust jacket.

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  16. Good for you for getting healthy. Also, no chocolate tastes bad on a diet.

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  17. I like how you have that dangerous gleam in your eye while eating salad. Not exactly maniacal, but not really to be trusted. Sometimes too much salad can do that, as I recall.

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  18. Beer.

    I recommend beer.

    You may not lose weight, but you won't care nearly as much.

    (Good for you! Keep up the good work)

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  19. You need more protein. Put some bacon and olive oil on that salad. No, I'm serious! Well, maybe not about the bacon. Just go with a splash of olive oil and lemon juice, a touch of salt and pepper, and more veggies like carrots and bell peppers.

    Oooh, I'm hungry now. Dieting is not about denying yourself pleasurable foods, but about eating well. Too many Americans eat garbage, which is why so many end up on diets. (yes, I am stating a gross generalization. So sue me)

    Me? My diet is to eat that which will not kill me or make me ill as I have some pretty sad food allergies. So far it's working.

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  20. Please do not go all "Valley of the Dolls" on us, Lisa. Are you sure those pills aren't scary?

    (Aside from this concern, I have to compliment you on your typically humorous delivery and your willingness to photograph yourself eating string cheese.)

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  21. I'm sorry DCup, but if I am gonna put on weight from eating chocolate, then I ain't gonna do it scoffing off some grease-tasting compounded rubbish. It's gotta be top shelf 100% milk chocolate or nothing. And you can keep your Belgian shells that taste like they use a chalk base, too.

    (However, I acknowlegde that one's taste in chocolate is such a personal thing - the right brand for me may be too bitter for you, or too sweet, or not the right texture... but if it's gonna kill me, I want to be happy as I go)

    And this is a self fulfilling rule, as the good stuff costs more, so I buy less of it.

    Problem Solved!

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  22. You have the right idea. Always keep the treats in the diet. Those who ban treats become OCD bores. The trick it to learn how to consume a healthy volume of treats so that you can enjoy them and reach your targeted weight.

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  23. And I'm not laughing at the idea of you being a fiction writer.

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  24. Just put a very thin cheesecloth over the camera lens and use low lighting. Your book pic will have everyone thinking you're 23 and walk around in a cloud of cotton candy.

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  25. Lisa, I have a question. Where did you get the same kind of miracle pill the Miracle Max used in the Princess Bride. Please answer soon.

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  26. Dude, my heart goes out to you, seriously. I'm doing the exact same thing (as well as blogging it). Dieting is tough, especially when you're addicted to shit food. But I got your back, if you get mine. Stay committed... 21 days is all you need and you've made a habit of eating better, which is hard to break.

    21 days and counting. you can do it.

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  27. Your connoisseur line cracked me up!
    If I only ate a string cheese and lettuce at lunch, I would be the world's uttermost bitchiest bitch of bitches. Seriously. I'm glad you have at least the cheap chocolate there for some carbs.

    Thanks for the hilarious photo essay.

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  28. Have you seen the film Requiem for a Dream, by any chance?

    It's good you're doing this now. I was able to do at age 42, sans pills; now it's next to impossible to lose more than 10 lbs 7 years later.

    Losing is the easy part. It's maintaining that's tricky. Just make "book jacket" your mantra.

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  29. Good for you! I wonder if I should try those pills...will power just doesn't seem to do it for me! ;-)

    I have no doubt you will achieve your weight goals and your novel!

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  30. Just eat dark chocolate for lunch. It's good for you and it's got have as much nutrition as that vile looking assortment you have there. It is the spectral pink glow around the mouth that is truly disconcerting....

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  31. lisa, this was hysterical to read...of course you will be a mega-wealthy author one of these days...and you WILL BE IN GORGEOUS SHAPE when it happens! those pills are just little miracles, aren't they? ;)

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  32. The first three letters in diet spell die for a reason. Food should be enjoyed, not endured. Find stuff that's good for you that you actually like and it'll be a lot easier to stick with a healthier eating (and life) style in the long run.

    And don't forget to throw in some resistance training -- you don't want to end up with Sally Field bones.

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  33. Day-um, you're a beautiful woman!

    And great candid shots - did you know you were taking them?

    ;)

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  34. Oh, and I meant to say (before the little head took over) that kiwis are my new favorite snack, and that salads drizzled with a little Balsamic vinegar taste very well dressed!

    And I reprised the lycra for a post yesterday; pardon my budding gut-tumor, and thank you for the motivation to do something about it. ;)

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